Neuropsychological Profiles of Young People at High Risk of Developing Schizophrenia, Ms Sian O'Brien-Dines, School Of Psychology, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia, August 2008.
In this study, a comprehensive neuropsychological and diagnostic clinical assessment was utilised to classify 363 clients of the Psychological Assistance Service (PAS), Hunter New England Health into four research groups. The study focused on the examination of the neuropsychological profiles of three research groups when compared to a Clinical Control group.
Findings from this study establish the presence of cognitive impairment at illness onset and support research perspectives that neuropsychological deficits in particular verbal memory impairments are a "trait" vulnerability marker of schizophrenia.
A key finding that cognitive deficits are a core characteristic of high risk and first episode clients support that it is essential that early intervention and prevention services implement cognitive rehabilitation programs to aid in the minimization of psychosocial and neurobiological harm associated with the onset of psychosis or schizophrenia.